Posts Tagged ‘Boeing’

The passing scene – October 14, 2015

October 14, 2015

On Building Armies (and Watching Them Fail) by Andrew Bacevich for TomDispatch.

Andrew Bacevich is a West Point graduate, a Vietnam veteran and a retired career Army officer who now teaches political science.  He said the goal of the neo-conservative faction in the U.S. government is military domination.

Since most Americans are unwilling to fight except against actual threats to the nation, the neo-conservatives try to use foreign fighters as proxies.  But foreigners also are unwilling to fight for American neo-conservative goals.

Those who are willing to fight have their own agendas, which is not the same as the U.S. agenda.  The latest example is the attempt to train “moderate” Syrian rebels.   Where, asks Bacevich, did Americans ever get the idea that they are especially good at training foreign armies?

I would be interested to hear from anybody who could make a case that the American people are better off for any of the U.S. military interventions during the past 15 years, or that the people of the target countries are better off, or that the world is better off.

Aerospace Trade: Trump’s Winning Card by Eamonn Fingleton for the Unz Review.

Eamonn Fingleton, a former editor of Forbes and the Financial Times, says Boeing is a prime example of the failure of U.S. trade policy, which is based on obsolete ideas about free trade.

As a condition for doing business, Japan, China and other countries insist that U.S. companies such as Boeing shift not only manufacturing operations to their countries, but share vital technological know-how.  The short-term benefit is a boost in profit for the U.S. company.  The long-term cost is a hollowing out of American industry.

He thinks it would take an outsider such as Donald Trump to change this.  I agree it would take someone not beholden to the American business establishment.

How to Protect Your Personal Data—and Your Humanity—From the Government by Walter Kirn for The Atlantic.

Electronics, the Internet and computer algorithms give governments and businesses the means to monitor your every move and draw conclusions—not necessarily accurate ones.

I’m reminded of the old definition of a paranoid:  Someone who lacks the normal person’s ability to diminish awareness of reality.

A History of Secret Torture at Guantanamo Bay by Bonnie Tamres-Moore for the Washington Spectator.

For Murdoch and Fox, the chickens may be coming home to roost by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

Svetlana Alexievich: The Truth in Many Voices by Timothy Snyder for the New York Review of Books.

Boeing may exit Seattle in anger at union

November 18, 2013

Boeing Co. management are not the first to decide that breaking labor unions is more important than productivity or even profit, and probably will not be the last.

Last week the company was voted $8.7 billion worth of tax breaks by the legislature of Washington state in order to keep the company in the Seattle area.  This is believed to be the biggest corporate tax subsidy ever given by a state government.

But Boeing executives say the company might have its new Boeing 777X wide-body airline built elsewhere because it couldn’t get the Machinists’ union members to give up their pensions.  Boeing already has moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago.

Boeing had started to build its previous airliner, the Boeing 787, in South Carolina, but had to have part of the production shifted back to Washington state because the inexperienced South Carolina work force couldn’t handle the job.

The company is not financially strapped and does not have to get concessions from the union in order to survive financially.  It is that the corporate executives do not like the “hostage situation” of having to bargain with a union over wages and benefits.

Evidently their long-range goal is a non-union work force, even if this means having this sophisticated and complex machine produced by workers with less skills and training.

This was brought out in subpoenaed documents concerning the Boeing 787 move.  As reported in The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative newspaper.

Boeing determined that choosing the Everett line would result in lower start-up costs, faster ramp-up, higher productivity, and a simplified supply chain, whereas a Charleston line would introduce further production delays, dilute workforce skills, and result in a “negative impact to 787 program profitability.”

That is, moving the line would cost $1.5 billion up front, plus reduced earnings on one-third of the 787 backlog, according to Boeing’s own internal numbers. The only consistent advantage attributed to Charleston was the ability to “leverage” the site placement decision toward “rebalancing an unbalanced and uncompetitive labor relationship.”

In other words: sticking it to the unions. 


Boeing did not reply to a request for comment, but in a prepared statement, Boeing claims the documents show they “made a legitimate business decision based upon a variety of factors, including the need to ensure our future competitiveness.”

But if Boeing’s board was making a business decision, rather than an ideological or emotional one, the choice was obvious: A second Everett line would save the company billions of dollars and months if not years of delays, resulting in higher productivity, higher quality, and higher profits.

Unless, of course, the main “rationale” driving Chicago-based Boeing’s decision-making was never higher productivity, higher quality, and higher profits, but rather, as the documents enunciate, to create “a non-union, competitive labor choice” that “lowers labor costs and avoids [the] current hostage situation.”

via Boeing… Boeing… Gone! by “Goldy” for The Stranger.

Members of the Machinists union are said to be especially unhappy that they were asked to give up their pensions in exchanged for a defined-contribution savings plan, when Jim McNerney, the CEO of Boeing, will get a guaranteed pension of $265,575 a month.

McNerney’s reward comes from being the decider.  He, not the Boeing workers in Seattle, sets the terms as to whether the new airliner will be built in the Seattle area.   The Boeing workers in Seattle, not McNerney, get the blame for his decision.


Airlines squeeze passengers to add seats

October 30, 2013


Growing industries increase their profits by improving their products and attracting more customers.  Declining industries increase their profits by finding ways to squeeze more profit out of existing customers while they can.  Which kind do you think is becoming more common?

Click on The Incredible Shrinking Plane Seat for a Wall Street Journal article on how the airlines do the latter.

Defense industry CEO: nice work if you can get it

September 3, 2012

Click to enlarge

This infographic from the Project on Governmental Oversight, a watchdog organization, shows that the CEOs of the top five Pentagon contractors—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman and Raytheon—received average compensation equal to 268 of their employees or 335 American active-duty enlisted personnel.

The Department of Defense does cap payments for contractor executive salaries at $750,000.  Anything the CEOs get over and above that comes out of profits, or out of work these companies do for other customers, not the U.S. taxpayer—at least, not directly.  But considering problems with cost overruns with major military contractors, I still have to wonder about the justification for such large compensation practices.

Click on Pentagon CEO Compensation Is Second to None for the complete POGO report, which is the source of the infographic.

Click on Lockheed Martin for a profile of the company and its scandals by Crocodyl, a corporate watchdog organization.

Click on Boeing for Crocodyl’s profile.

Click on General Dynamics for  Crocodyl’s profile.

Click on Northrup Grumman for Crocodyl’s profile.

Click on Raytheon for Crocodyl’s profile.

Hat tip for the infographic to Bill Elwell.